Nakamura for Espanyol

JAPAN'S Shunsuke Nakamura will announce his move to Espanyol from Celtic as early as Tuesday and make his debut in a friendly against Liverpool on August 2, a report said yesterday.

JAPAN'S Shunsuke Nakamura will announce his move to Espanyol from Celtic as early as Tuesday and make his debut in a friendly against Liverpool on August 2, a report said yesterday.

Nakamura's agent Roberto Tsukuda will today meet executives at J-League side Yokohama Marinos, who were also vying for his signature, to tell them of the star's intention after talks with Espanyol in Barcelona last week.

Nakamura told Tsukuda by telephone last week that he had decided on the move to the Spanish side after talks with Yokohama, his first professional side, collapsed, Nikkan Sports said.

His debut will also be the inaugural match at Espanyol's new stadium.

According to Japanese reports, the two-year deal will see Nakamura, who is leaving Celtic on a free transfer, pick up about R13,9million a year.

Nakamura turns 31 on Wednesday and his contract with former Scottish champions Celtic expires at the end of this month.

"It's up to Shun (Nakamura) to decide. Marinos or Espanyol," Tsukuda told another daily, Sankei Sports.

"It is not that he is choosing terms of his contract.

"The point is how he will spend one year in the run-up to the World Cup finals and which is better for him to raise the level of his play."

After polishing his game with Marinos, Nakamura spent three years at Reggina in Italy before joining the Glasgow side in 2005 and helping them to three successive Scottish Premier League championships.

Despite his longtime dream of playing in Spain, Nakamura has recently talked of returning to the J-League to ease the burden of travelling for international duty ahead of the World Cup and raise his children in Japan.

But talks with Yokohama stalled with Nakamura's side reportedly citing the club's "insincerity" over financial matters and requests for his appearance in club events before he signed a contract. - Sapa-AFP

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